“Nursing is my passion, it’s my calling”

This Nurses Day, Rocelle M Casuga, 27, shares her experience working at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled (RCHD) as a nursing aide, former team leader and house mother.

Tell us about yourself.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing from Union Christian College in the Philippines in 2010. For two years after my graduation, I had been working in the Tertiary Hospital in the Philippines. My mum’s friend, who is living in Singapore, called me saying that she knew of an agent who had a job opportunity to be a nursing aide at RCHD in Singapore.

As I have been volunteering in the Philippine Red Cross, I felt the job opportunity was a challenge for me to do something different for the Red Cross, in another country. I wanted to gain the experience of living in another country, to see how I can adapt to the people of other races and culture and learn how to take good care of them. Nursing is my passion, it’s my calling.

How would you describe your journey in Red Cross Home for the Disabled (RCHD)?
Initially, it was difficult to adjust as I miss my family, being in a different country and culture. After the first month, things were easier. It was easier for me to communicate and adapt as I have Filipino friends and colleagues in Singapore whom I can talk to and socialise. I enjoy working here because of the residents. It’s my calling. I really prayed for it.

What challenges do you face in the job?
When they (residents) are sick or are in pain, we see can feel their pain. But there is not much we can do as we are not doctors. We can only try to alleviate their pain and try to make them more comfortable.

It was challenging to see one of the residents, Tan Soon Fang, whom we love, die. It was very painful for all of us. But we have to accept that life is short. When we see how vulnerable they are, we shower them with love and give them good quality care.

What gives you satisfaction while working at RCHD?
For me, it’s nice to see them always smiling. They are so happy during breakfast or at parties. Their smiles touch my heart. I always take the opportunity to interact with them while they are bathing or eating.

I was given the opportunity to be a team leader from 2012 to 2015 and subsequently house mother from 2015 to 2016. As a house mother then, amongst my top concerns was the welfare of my colleagues. I had to ensure that they have sufficient food and clothing. I was also in charge of the work schedules and had to make sure that they are not too tired. If they encountered problems, I counselled them.

I am very happy to be the organiser of Nurses Day for three years. I also organised the Christmas celebrations by preparing the food, games and gifts. I enjoy working on the programme line-up, decorations and performance and sharing the work with my colleagues. I did video editing and photography. It’s nice to be able to see the fruit of our labours. It is so rewarding to see our colleagues happy as it makes me happy too.